Scalia’s Correct: The Slippery Slope Towards Compulsory Exercise

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The Enterprise Blog

Scalia’s Correct: The Slippery Slope Towards Compulsory Exercise

Christopher J. Conover | Mar 28, 2012

This excerpt originally appeared in The Enterprise Blog on March 28, 2012.

Failure to purchase health insurance affects interstate commerce by raising the cost of private health insurance for everyone else. As the foregoing illustrates, it does do that, by at most a mere 20 cents a day (and only 6 cents a day, accurately calculated). But this is far less than the societal burden posed by those who fail to engage in exercise, which was calculated in 1989 to be 24 cents for every mile that sedentary people do not walk, jog, or run (or about double that amount in today’s dollars). Thus, if we can justify forcing people to purchase insurance to avert their imposing a cost of 20 cents a day on the privately insured, what’s to stop us from forcing people to walk, jog, or run a mile a day to avert their imposing a cost of 50 cents a day on society? If the first is constitutional, then how can the second not be?
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